A few straight questions for the Conservatives

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 28, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Monday, January 28th, 2008
9:38 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

The following is the list of questions that I would loved to have issued to CCHQ days ago, had Paul Staines not released his semi-embargoed explanation for this turn of events at 6pm on a Friday evening (in much the same manner as the spin-doctors he claims to loathe):

How long has the Daily Lobby distribution list server been in place?

Who is it designed for? (i.e. who uses it with your permission?)

Who knows about it?

Were you aware before Friday [25/01/07] that anyone who knew the distribution address [DailyLobby@conservatives.com] could send emails through your system that appear to come from the Conservative Party?

When will this loophole be fixed?

Has Paul Staines (‘Guido Fawkes’) used this facility before?

Does Paul Staines have your permission to use this facility?

For how long have emails sent through this system had the signature ending “Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP” attached prior to forwarding?

What signature, if any, was attached to emails sent through this facility before this?

How many recipients are there for your Daily Lobby distribution list server?

How does one opt in and out of the service?

Who is your most senior Data Protection Officer and are they aware of this list, the loophole and the way it has been hacked exploited?

I’ll let you know if I get any answers.

UPDATE (1pm) – Still no reply from CCHQ, and I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that Iain Dale is equally uninterested. Iain has also called me a liar without proof (again) and declared our conversation closed at that point. And people wonder how he can operate a weblog and avoid scrutiny at the same time…

(Of course, if CCHQ comes back with a series of answers, each more plausible than the next… then I’m sure Iain will become interested in the issue all over again.)

UPDATE (4:30pm) – *Still* no reply from CCHQ. Meanwhile, I learn that the rather telling past of one of the two ‘bloggers’ most fond of screaming “Personal vendetta!” when the spotlight is turned on them has not escaped everyone’s notice..

Yorkshire Ranter – How difficult can it be?: In other random poo-flinging, why the hell has nobody, Newsnight included, picked up on the fact that Paul De L’Aire Staines spent the late 1980s in various ventures supportive of the Afrikaans Nationalist government of South Africa, and therefore has personal reasons to despise Peter Hain? Ignorance is no longer excusable.

UPDATE (29 Jan) – Still no answers, but at least the nice people at CCHQ are talking to *somebody*…

Computing.co.uk – Commons Lobby in Tory security fiasco: It appears that the blogger “Guido Fawkes” discovered how to route emails through the Tory Press Office gateway that is used to file press releases to political journalists. He (she or it) used the route to claim responsibility for Peter Hain’s downfall and explained how he had done it to a political reporter on the Daily Telegraph – who then went on to publish a further email containing material demonstrating what could be done, and how, to the entire world. The results has been a deluge of unsolicited emails from unclear sources, using the same method to hack into the Conservative email gateway. Some, in the spirit of inquiry, have been trying to discover if the security breach is real. Other have used the channel to explore their feelings towards Parliament’s press lobby. A CCO spokeswoman said: “Our IT department is on to it and is changing the settings so nothing more can get through. I am really, really sorry.”

Wow. A Tory used the s-word. This *is* serious.


  1. Wolf Solent says

    I see that Paul is being dreadfully mature about this and redirecting your link to his cafepress shop.As it happens, back in the day, the Tories used to have a wide-open SMTP server usable by anyone…

  2. Manic says

    Well, with the exception of clever kiddy-hack redirects as used by their blogging champions Paul Staines, Iain Dale and Phil Hendren…https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/05/blog…… the Tories are not generally known for their IT expertise:https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/07/gran

  3. mikkimoose says

    the supposed links to Afrikaaner nationalists are all a bit tenuous don't you think?Staines hardly comes across as someone who would care about apartheid, any more than say Mark Thatcher would.Any possible link to Hain is highly improbable.Staines activities, while certainly right-wing, are not more extreme than anything current members of the Labour government used to get up to. And indeed, some of Red Ken's current mates and London invitees are far more hateful than whomever Staines might have spoke to in the 80s.We know who Staines is, pretty well.Staines said he gets pleasure out of bringing down politicians, hardly ambiguous is it:"I'd like to destroy a minister's career. There is one I've got something on at the moment that I need to prove, but Ed Balls is probably the one I most despise."(From The Independent http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_2…Who knows who people like THIS are:http://my.telegraph.co.uk/__users/14820/"I admire Hain he is hero. Hain is a hero and deserves a second chance. How many people in parliament put their ass on ther line against a brutal police state did against the south african gestapo. Just look at muldergate to see what sort dodgy stuff they got up to. It makes new labour and the tories look like a monks underpance. Well done to the boss man fornot giving in to tory pressure."(this same person is posting numerous posts along the lines of "Fawkes is a right wing fruit bat extreme tory", to various websites)Or indeed this person:http://my.telegraph.co.uk/__users/15264/http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2008/01/18/the-mhttp://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/2008/01/michael_http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/1957http://timworstall.typepad.com/timworstall/2008/0http://carolinehunt.blogspot.com/2008/01/well-duhhttp://devilskitchen.me.uk/2008/01/harmonisation-http://paullinford.blogspot.com/2008/01/hains-timhttp://chrispaul-labouroflove.blogspot.com/2008/0http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2008/01/telegraph-co…etc.Obviously SOMEONE has an agenda, someone who without a hint of irony can refer to Hain as a 'hero'.I can only imagine it is someone very close to Hain indeed, because frankly I can't imagine many speaking in such vainglorious terms about a man who is far from popular within the Labour party.Staines actually went to the trouble of replying to one of the anonymous cut and pasted jobs herehttp://paullinford.blogspot.com/2008/01/dangers-o…with a typically modest effort"My only regret is that I couldn't do more to help the Nicaraguan Resistance than the little I did.I am immensely proud to have been on the side of those fighting for freedom against a Marxist tyranny, rolling back the Cuban proxies for the Soviets was crucial in the struggle against the evil empire.Don't forget my time in Angola when you next post extracts from my resume.We won and the world is better for our victory."

  4. Manic says

    Do no underestimate Staines' near-rabid anti-communist zeal.An article that none of us are allowed to mention lest we get sued by a so-called libertarian (so much for knowing who he is) would suggest that Staines is (or perhaps was) likely to get into bed with anyone that could help him fight the red menace.As for sock-puppeting, I did spot it, and I did say something about it:http://maguire.mirror.co.uk/2008/01/has-guided-fa…"Hello. I just popped up long enough to say that sock-puppets have made appearances rooting for all sides of this little event, and ah'm agin it."Staines and Dale did not invent sock-puppeting, they merely popularised the practice in political blogging circles.In fact, to help your case, here's an excellent example of New Labour sock-puppeting at work:https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2006/03/tess…But (and don't blame me for how complicated this gets, because I didn't start it):http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_sock_puppet…"A strawman sockpuppet is created by a user with one point of view, but acts as though they have an opposing point of view, in order to make that point of view look bad. Such sockpuppets will typically advance foolish straw man arguments which their 'opponents' can then easily refute. They often act in an unintelligent, uninformed, or bigoted manner. The effect is to discredit more rational arguments for the same side."The arguments put forward by the first ringer you spotted are so pissweak, I would suspect a strawman sock-puppet at work before a supporter.The second ringer is merely an idiot for thinking that his opinions carry any weight with no reputation to back them up.

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